This is a story about villains. It's about heroes too I suppose, but it's mainly about villains. In this story/game, you take the role of a person with superhuman abilities. This is made to show how people would really react to having superhuman powers . . . so most of the characters will likely be villains, or at the very least anti-heroes. The setting is unique, so I'm going to have you all read a bit of history first . . . hopefully it isn't as boring as the history we learned in school.
How did we get here?
It all started about two hundred and forty years ago or so with one man . . . Melchior Jefferson. Melchior was born as one of a set of triplets to the founding father to be Thomas Jefferson, and one of his house slaves named Lily. Unbeknownst to the parents, they were actually half-siblings, as Thomas’ father, Peter was also the father of Lily.
Unfortunately having triplets at that time in history with the lack of medical knowledge led to the death of Lily. Thomas looked on the triplets with favor as they grew. While he was unwilling to risk admitting they were his own, he held some pride in them as they grew into strong young men. When the time came to fight the British to form a new country, the brothers were among the first slaves to volunteer for the war, even before they learned that their freedom was part of the payment. Thomas Jefferson told the boys the truth of their parentage that night. Each of the three reacted differently. Balthazar was angry, Gasper was joyful, and Melchior was reserved. It was no real surprise to the young man, and he had long since washed his hands of his father.
During the war, the brothers fought the British with an all-black regiment. As was often the case, they were sent into the thick of battle ahead of the white soldiers on a particular afternoon, and the entire regiment was slaughtered to the last man. That is when the miracle happened . . . Melchior got better. His wounds slowly healed in front of the astonished eyes of the British soldiers. When he suddenly took a breath and sat up, they shot him in the head, rendering him instantly dead again.
Melchior was taken to the British camp where he was tortured for days in ways that only an immortal can be tortured until he finally found the means to escape. Killing his guards, he slipped into the forest by the camp. One by one he tracked down the British soldiers and slaughtered them. Only then did he return to the Colonial Army to give his report.
A sergeant was about to kill him for fear that he was in league with Satan when the general stayed his hand. General George Washington took Melchior under his wing and transformed him into the Colonial Army’s secret weapon. After the war, Melchior stayed the United States of America’s secret weapon. For one hundred and seventy five years he move from one branch of the service to another; from one war to another; fighting for the country he had helped form. Then in 1951 he got a new mission . . . test subject.
He was asked to submit to tests by Doctor Warren King and Doctor Phillip Graves, the leaders of a project called Prometheus. Project Prometheus was an attempt to understand and possibly replicate Melchior’s amazing abilities. The project was more successful than they could have possibly imagined, allowing them to identify a rare gene in the human genome that under the right, nearly impossible, circumstances would produce extraordinary powers in the human in question. His part in the project done, Melchior returned to the job he knew best . . . serving his country.
One of the major discoveries that was made in Project Prometheus was not made by the researchers, but by an outsider. One of the researcher's sons, by the name of Jonny, was visiting the public part of the facility when there was an explosion. The research materials involved in the explosion created a change in the boy, making him over five hundred times as intelligent as even the greatest genius ever known. He single-handedly expanded scientific knowledge into unknown realms literally overnight. That which was considered impossible before became tangible. The old laws now had exceptions: Conservation of matter and energy? Usually. Light speed limit. For most. Gravity . . . well you get the idea. He had tapped into the physics that makes supers possible, and brought it to light, but very few could understand it; and those that could were very slow to learn with their relatively simple minds.
By morning, Jonny had realized that he would never be free, so he ran away. He began making super-tech for money (and coined the phrase super-tech). In this way Jonny Gadds, twelve year old boy become Jonny Gadget, genius for hire. In a few years he came to realize that there was a side effect to his intellect . . . he no longer aged. This last revelation made the boy think of himself as no longer human; but an impartial god to be amused by the puny humans around him. While not a villain, he was no hero. He sold or gave away his inventions to whomever it pleased him to do so . . . and still does.
Jonny's breakthroughs lead a particularly bright researcher to startling realization. Lilith Love, an apprentice of the late Alister Crowley as well as a student of Theology, Parapsychology, and Metaphysics, was brought on the project just to cover all of their bases. She gleaned from Jonny's work that the mystical world was indeed real, but had been locked away long ago. She stole the relevant research that she needed and set about bringing magic back into the world. It would take her the better part of thirty years, but she would finally release the barriers around the mortal plane on the winter solstice, 1985. She then received her reward in the form of eternal youth and innate magic. But before that happened other matters unfolded.
When the new heroes and villains began to emerge, The Patriot (as Melchior was now known) was at the forefront; leading by example and taking the villains out with extreme prejudice. Project Prometheus was considered a marginal success. The number of villains created in the project, and the casualties and property damage they caused were problematic; but the heroes gained were of substantial benefit. The lead scientists started to grow apart both philosophically and personally. Project Prometheus was decommissioned on August 12, 1970.
Soon thereafter, each scientist was made the head of their own project. Warren King was given Project Daedalus, which explored more humane ways to discover new super powers. While not as effective as Project Prometheus in finding new powers, it produced less failures (in the form of super villains). Philip Graves headed up Project Cerberus, which took the extreme measures of Project Prometheus to new levels of inhumanity. It was even more effective than Project Prometheus at finding powers, but produced almost entirely psychopaths. Those that were not usable as weapons (and who could be destroyed) were destroyed; thus producing a comparable number of living villains. Once a process was discovered, both projects created similar numbers of heroes and villains though power implantation.
Secrets can only remain secret for so long. With the death of Warren King in 1993 the secret of the origin of supers came to light when King's personal journal was released to the public. When the origin of supers became known, the Patriot reluctantly gave some speeches and made some appearances before returning to his preferred job.
When Axiom Enterprises (run by Warren King II), and Graves Biotechnic (run by the venerable Phillip Graves) started selling superpowers, The Patriot briefly stopped spewing the party line to tell the public what a horrible idea he thought it was, but quickly returned to putting supervillains in the ground . . . which is what he is still doing. Now if you are one of the rare 5% of the population with the super gene; and you are very wealthy, you can have a super power . . . but they aren't all available and legal. If you are poor and have the gene, you can still get super powers; but that entails exposing yourself to experimentation that can often have devastating side effects.
Where did you get your powers?
I'm part of one of the original projects
(Origin of the first string of super soldiers. It was quite inhumane.)
(One origin of the second string of super soldiers, run by Phillip Graves. Was even more inhumane, and produced mainly villains.)
(Another origin of the second string of super soldiers, run by Warren King. Was more humane, and produced mainly heroes.)
I purchased my powers
I volunteered for experimentation
I'm part of a Special Project
What are you talking about?
You've already mentioned me.
Characters in this story are represented using the Blood of Heroes RPG by Pulsar Games with some house rules. The game is based on the DC Heroes RPG by Mayfair Games. The system is refered to as MEGS (Mayfair Exponential Game System). It is currently out of print, but you can still find copies out there. If a contributor needs a character sheet for a character they want to add to the story, they can ask me, and I'll get one out to them as soon as I can; or they can feel free to find a copy of the game themselves to make their character's write-up. (Blood of Heroes: Special Edition can be found here: Amazon.com) I will be adding a page for the house rules that I am using eventually. I am also available to help with the character portrait and title graphic.